The Wood family of Austin and others, including CRWD’s Paul Hunter on the right, paddle the Cedar River State Water Trail in June 2019 in Austin during the taping of an episode of “Let’s Go Minnesota!” that will start airing on KSMQ public television in October 2020.

Cedar River paddling trip airing on KSMQ

‘Let’s Go Minnesota!’ public TV show features CRWD on 9-mile float

October 20, 2020 — As snow already starts to fall, people can revisit a much warmer time tonight when KSMQ public television features a summer trip down the Cedar River State Water Trail for its “Let’s Go Minnesota!” program.

For the final episode of the program’s second season, “Let’s Go Minnesota!” — a production by the Austin-based KSMQ station — will air at 7 p.m. today (Tuesday) on KSMQ to feature a group paddling trip from June 2019 down about nine river miles of the Cedar River.

Cedar River Watershed District staff — James Fett, Paul Hunter and Tim Ruzek — are featured in the program and helped coordinate the trip with the KSMQ crew and “Let’s Go Minnesota!” host Brenda Piekarski. All worked together to create a trip that highlighted the scenic and historical parts of paddling in the city of Austin and through the wooded corridor going south.

CRWD’s James Fett maneuvers a canoe while KSMQ public TV’s Kevin Hanson takes photos during the June 2019 paddling trip for “Let’s Go Minnesota!”

An Austin family — Coulter and Denice Wood with their daughters Ariel and Grace — also joined the trip that started at Austin’s Driesner Park and ended at the river’s Orchard Creek confluence in Lyle Township.

CRWD, KSMQ and others prepare to launch on the Cedar River in June 2019 at Austin’s Driesner Park.

“This was a really fun trip and great experience to work with a professional TV crew like KSMQ on showcasing the Cedar River State Water Trail while paddling in canoes and kayaks,” said Ruzek, CRWD’s outreach coordinator. “Hopefully this episode will inspire others to plan a paddling trip next season on the river.”

Paddlers start on a 9-mile journey on the Cedar River in June 2019 for “Let’s Go Minnesota!”

This episode also will air on KSMQ at 1 p.m. Friday, Oct. 23, and 2:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 24. It should be available online Wednesday, Oct. 21, on the KSMQ website — www.ksmq.org — under the “Let’s Go Minnesota!” section.

Started in 1972 in Austin, KSMQ is a professional TV outlet under the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) that brings quality public broadcasting to more than 655,000 households across southern Minnesota and northern Iowa.

“Let’s Go Minnesota!” features Piekarski as she leads a team of adventurers in each episode down rivers, up cliffs and across prairies. Art also is incorporated into each episode.

For the series’ first season, the Shooting Star State Trail in Mower County was featured as the “Let’s Go Minnesota!” team biked from Rose Creek to LeRoy.

Since 2011, the Cedar River has been designated as Minnesota’s 33rd state water trail following efforts led by the CRWD and local legislators Sen. Dan Sparks and Rep. Jeanne Poppe to get legislative approval for that designation of 25 river miles, which run from the village of Lansing to the Iowa border.

KSMQ drone image of the June 2019 trip on the Cedar River.

In spring 2012, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources launched a water trail map and other web resources for the new Cedar River State Water Trail that today includes real-time data on river levels for paddlers. DNR also has removes paddling hazards, such as fallen trees, on the river’s state water trail portion throughout the season.

For more on the Cedar River State Water Trail, visit the DNR website at: www.dnr.state.mn.us/watertrails/cedarriver

Members of the “Let’s Go Minnesota!” group pose in June 2019 for a photo at the MN Department of Natural Resources’ Riverwood Landing on the Cedar River State Water Trail in Austin Township. This was the lunch break site for the production before heading back on the river for the rest of the trip.

Formed in 2007, CRWD works to reduce flooding and improve water quality on the Cedar River State Water Trail and its tributaries in southern Minnesota.

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